fashionable charm Talking clothes, vintage and collector culture with Jon Schemick, owner of Good & Sturdy Vintage
They say the closet is an extension of the personality, but it takes a knack to turn a hobby based out of your dresser into a business. Jon Schemick opened his (closet) doors for business in 2012 under the name Good & Sturdy Vintage, and has been a hit proprietor of his tastes ever since, stocking men’s duds and a selection of other nostalgic odds and ends. What does “vintage” mean? It has to be more than just old, right? Vintage cars have to be 20 years old to get collector plates so I’ve always applied that to my own definition of what vintage is. Nowadays the word is used so broadly, I think the definition is a little murky. Anything newer than late ’80s or early ’90s doesn’t seem very old to me so I try to keep it at that 20 year old mark. So how did you get started with … all this? I have always shopped at thrift stores, since I was a kid – a teenager. I think the more you do it, the more you dial in your taste. I lived in Minneapolis and I discovered there were places that would buy from me. I would go to rag mills and literally sift through mountains of clothes. The big Goodwill in Minneapolis, right? Yeah, that’s the one. We used to call it Diggers. So anyway, I started buying and picking for those stores. Then eBay came around … I certainly did my share of eBay-ing. Once you realize there’s an outlet where you can buy all the cool stuff, it just snowballs from there. Sometimes things you find super cool don’t necessarily fit you, or it’s baby clothes,
A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED TASTEMAKER: Jon Schemick opened Good & Sturdy Vintage in 2012, his own curated storefront of eclectic vintage clothes and timeless miscellany. or some weird thing that you don’t need. But when you’re buying for everybody … you can just buy everything. So, where do I get these things? Anywhere and everywhere I can. I’ve been doing this for 18 years. Who’s your clientele, then? Again, I’m using the word broad, but it’s really a varied spectrum. I get everyone from high school kids – junior high, even – all the way to people in their 70s buying for themselves. I do a lot of wholesaling, too. There are bigger stores than mine on either coast. A lot of buyers from Japan too. You have orders coming to Eau Claire all the way from Japan? They make the trip to the United States. I’ve got guys coming in as often as once
a month, sometimes once a year. On a bigger scale, you could say that interest is what pushes the vintage clothing market. What are your plans? Do you like it here? Have you thought about stocking female clothing? I get asked all the time about women’s clothing. I would argue there is women’s clothing in here, and I like to classify the store as unisex clothing. But it certainly is dialed to a particular style. This is the stuff I really like. This is my style. Do you consider yourself more of a collector or seller? Oh, I’m a seller. But collecting is just what you do. It’s part of the process. I always say I only collect what I can afford to keep.
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“Once you realize there’s an outlet where you can buy all the cool stuff, it just snowballs from there. ... So, where do I get these things? Anywhere and everywhere I can.”
WALKING THE WALK. Chris Williams’ home in Menomonie is decked out floor-to-ceiling in vintage furniture and wares from the ’50s and ’60s.
retro at home Chris Williams’ Menomonie home looks like it’s straight out of 1960-something. We talked to her about how she was first inspired, how she finds her décor, and her struggles. When did you move into your home? It will be two years ago in September, and I have been busy ever since. What inspired you to go after this retro-themed house? After years of collecting all sorts of items from the ’50s and ’60s it only made sense that when it came time to buy a house it should also be from that era. In general, midcentury houses have a lot to offer and are still perfectly suited to a modern way of life. Often they are ranch-styles and after years of living in an upstairs apartment, I was ready to never see a set of stairs again. They also tend to have open living spaces, large windows that connect you to the outdoors, and were solidly built with quality materials. Also, it was important to me to try to find one that still retained at least some of its original details and features. The house I chose still had the colorful original bathrooms (one yellow and one blue) which I love, irregular slate tiles in the front entrance, a brick fireplace, retro lighting fixtures, and an in house intercom system. All of which are still in great condition and attests to the durability, quality, and well-thought-out designs of the postwar era. These details may seem to others to be in need of updating, but to a collector like myself, they are coveted and treasured features that deserve to be preserved. Where do you find the vintage ’50s and ’60s items to fill it? There are so many places you can find mid-century treasures and depending on what you are after some places are likely better than others. For larger items like furniture, going local is definitely best to avoid expensive shipping charges. Estate sales, thrift, moving sales, Craigslist, and local vintage, antique, and thrift shops can offer up a range of good quality furnishings. If you are looking for something rare, or very specific, going online to places like eBay and Etsy are a good source as well. And of course, even if you are not looking for anything in particular, scouring the local secondhand, vintage, and antique shops can be a fun way to spend an afternoon and will surely turn up some treasures.
What reactions do you get when people see the house all decked out? I think most people are a bit taken aback at first – or perhaps taken a bit back in time! All of the reactions are really positive, even if mid-century isn’t their particular style, I think they appreciate seeing an entire house furnished true to the era it was built in. What’s your favorite piece in your house? Definitely the pieces that I have sentimental attachments to. There is a 1960’s floor lamp that was purchased new by my grandfather. Sadly, I never got to meet him, but I believe he is where I get my sense of style. I also have a spectacular mid-century modern chair that was gifted to me by a dear friend who has since passed, it constantly reminds me of her and makes me smile. What are some of the struggles with trying to match this era? One of the hardest things is having the patience to wait to find the perfect piece. It’s one thing to say, “I need this, I’ll just run to the store.” It’s another to say, “I need this, I’ll see if I can get a vintage one,” then have to wait until you can find what you are looking for. It can also be rather time consuming. However, part of the fun is the hunt! Also finding things in good condition can be difficult as well, especially if you are trying to stay on a tight budget. Mid-century items are becoming quite collectable and so many things are fetching much higher prices than they used to. Of course, if you are handy, steals can be had if you are willing to put some time in to fix it up. What’s next? Anything on your shopping/bucket list? I am planning on a kitchen renovation in the near future, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a large set of 1960’s St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets in great condition at the fraction of the cost of buying new. So I am now scouring for vintage kitchen goodies. I am really looking forward to bringing the kitchen back to its retro roots!
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FOUNDRY SALE Initially started as a way to get rid of some things, Mary Freeberg and her husband began the Foundry Sale, a periodic, multi-seller, vintage and antique market housed in a old foundry near Banbury Place.
CURATED COLLECTION. Mary Freeberg started the Foundry Sale as a way to get rid of some of her stuff (and the stuff of many other local vintage and antique sellers).
past 20 years. Industrial equipment was Calling all hipsters, antique collectors, and anyone who once made at the local foundry, but hasn’t been produced since the early 1990s. loves a good deal! After deciding to sell some stuff, FreeThe Foundry Sale is in the works as we speak, slated for this fall in downtown berg tried to think of a suitable venue in Eau Claire. And just to make sure we’re Eau Claire where she could do it – and on the same page, this is not an event came up blank, until a light bulb went off. She thought, “Instead of lugging my where foundries are sold – that would just be silly, as a foundry is a workshop things around to sales, why not bring the or factory usually used for casting metal. people here?” Freeberg and Graziano reached out But I suppose it doesn’t hurt to clarify. to local vendors and, after getting a few If you haven’t heard of the Foundry Sale and didn’t attend one of the two to commit, the first Foundry Sale was that happened in May and October of last born and took off May of last year. And unlike flea markets year, what you’re at bigger cities, the missing out on is a Foundry Sale is logathering of local cated indoors, so no collectors, vendors, matter the weather, and dealers who the show goes on. come together in oct. 3-5 “The first one order to sell their 1239 BELLEVUE AVE, EAU CLAIRE was small but still unique goods to the went really, really public in a shared well,” Freeberg environment. said. The “goods” inAfter receiving a lot of positive feedclude things such as antiques, vintage items, estate pieces, art, jewelry, and back from the vendors and shoppers who more. It’s not just your run-of-the-mill attended, Freeberg and Graziano decided to hold another sale in October. From neighborhood sale, either. Foundry Sale creator Mary Freeberg five vendors at May’s sale to 13 participating in October, they knew they were on to said the items featured are a little “highsomething. er end” than what you might find at a ga“People collect stuff and Eau Claire rage sale. “I talk to people to find out what they just doesn’t have anything like this,” Freeberg said. “It takes a lot of work, but have to contribute because I don’t want it to be a thrift sale,” Freeberg said, adding people like it, so it’s worth it.” There’s just one Foundry Sale this year that in the end, “there’s a little bit for evOctober 3, 4, and 5, from 9 am to 5 pm The erybody and people just love it.” Freeberg came up with the idea to foundry is located at 1239 Bellevue Ave., host a foundry sale when she thought of right behind Banbury Place. At press time, selling her own collectibles, which are there are still four open spots for vendors or collectors to fill. If interested, contact stored in a foundry that she and her husband, David Graziano, have owned for the Mary Freeberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS YEAR’S FOUNDRY SALE
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Stories of thrifting, weird finds, and hijinx from professional and amateur enthusiasts
WORTH THE SACRIFICE?
A DESENSITIZED COLLECTOR
“I enlisted my brother to drive with me halfway across the state to buy a refrigerator in the middle of winter. The fridge that came with the house was barely holding on and I was told when I tried to have it repaired that there was no hope for it. Of course, I instantly thought to get a vintage fridge and started my search. After weeks and weeks of looking, I ended up finding a 1958 GE fridge on Craigslist that was amazing. It had a foot pedal that would open the fridge door when you stepped on it, was pink inside, and had lazy Susan-style shelves that rotated with the push of a button. Truly it was a well-designed masterpiece, and so very, very retro – it even had a place specifically in the freezer labeled for ice cream. No one thought it was a good idea to get an older appliance, but that didn’t stop me. After the whole ordeal of driving for what seemed like forever and the hassle of loading it in the back of a pickup in Arctic temperatures, it didn’t work. I ended up having to buy a new one and admit that I had failed the fridge mission to everyone who had warned me.”
“After you’ve kind of seen it all, you don’t get fazed very much. I think my taste is fairly strange or at least diverse so I have an appreciation for everything. I don’t know, gallstones or something like that is pretty weird, but at these auctions it’s like, ‘Sure, why not? Why wouldn’t those be here?’”
Chris Williams, whose Menomonie home is flush with retro wares
Jon Schemick, owner of Good & Sturdy Vintage
THE FRUGALITY OF DAD
needed that bike
“My dad has taught me to always be on the lookout for thrift items with lifetime warranties. His favorites are Allen Edmonds shoes. Find a pair in any condition and send it in for them to fix up or – sometimes – just send you a whole new pair for way less money than you’d spend on a new pair.”
“At The Local Store, we sell ‘I Kubb EC’ T-shirts. One day, my fiancée went thrift shopping and came home with an “I Kubb EC” tee in my size. While we know there are other places you can buy this tee, my fiancée and I like to think that the tee made a full circuit through the thrift store system, right back to the building where it may have been originally purchased.”
“In eighth grade, I bought a single speed bike at a rummage sale for $7. I immediately took it around, but I hadn’t checked it over first. Coming up on a curb, I tried to pop a wheelie over it and mid-wheelie, the front wheel of my bike rolled away ahead of me. I went crashing forward, and I had to get six staples in the back of my head. Should’ve just got ice cream?”
THOM FOUNTAIN, V1
tyler griggs, v1
eric christenson, v1
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HIDDEN GEMS appraiser finds value in the little things
Discover Building 13 of Banbury Place Located Downtown along the Eau Claire River 930 Galloway Street - Eau Claire, WI 10% off your purchase
when you mention this ad to participating businesses.
Mark Moran, who has decades of experience buying and selling antiques and is the author of more than 25 books on antiques and collectibles, brings Roadshowstyle expertise and thrills to events across the Midwest. Moran is a frequent visitor to the Chippewa Valley, and he’ll be at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library next Jan. 17. If you have a piece you’d like appraised, call for a reservation in advance, but anyone is welcome to stop in to listen to Moran make his appraisals. Moran has focused on vintage folk art, Americana, and fine art and is open to appraising everything from furniture to toys to vintage photographs. However, he doesn’t appraise weapons, coins or paper money, jewelry, or musical instruments (so leave that ukelele at home). Find out more about Mark Moran and learn where he’s going to be by visiting Mark-Moran.blogspot.com.
Turning Ugly Furniture into Lovely Furniture and Antiques
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
OPEN: Thurs 4 - 7 pm, and Every Other Fri 12 - 5 & Sat 10 - 4
From Ordinary to Extraordinary Upcycled, vintage, antiques, & more
OPEN: Thursdays 4 -7 pm Every Other Fri 12 - 5 & Sat 10 - 4 Like Us on facebook
Sandy’s has added vintage clothing AND Francie’s is always re-purposed!
Stop in for some shopping fun! (715)533-0159
Call, text or email Francie (715) 514-9222
JACKSON MILL We specialize in Retro & Industrial Home Décor and Fused Glass OPEN: Thurs 12 - 6, Fri 10 - 5, Sat 10 - 3 JacksonMill.ETSY.com VolumeOne.org 34 July 10, 2014
The words “historian,” “antiques” and “PBS” generally don’t conjure up suspense and excitement, but if you’ve ever spent much time watching Antiques Roadshow you know exactly what I’m talking about. The long-running program brings in average citizens with antiques from around their homes and pairs them with knowledgeable historians to give them some context, insight, and a value.
TIMELESS TREASURES AREA SHOPS & SELLERS The Atelier Studio - Suite 218 Banbury Place Bldg 13, 930 Galloway St., Eau Claire • 933-2510, 829-6253 • Find us on Facebook. Antique Emporium 306 Main St. Eau Claire • 715-832-
2494 • email@example.com • www.trocadero.com/ mgallery • Antique emporium with a special interest in paper ephemera.
Begga Town Antiques and Collectibles 605 Main Col-
fax • (715) 962-4398.
Bethesda Thrift Shop 3178 London Rd., Eau Claire • 715-834-7875 •
Many Little Things Craft and Collect 216 7th St Osseo
54758 • (715) 597-2879.
Memories of Centuries 643 Broadway St S Menomonie 54751-2457 • (715) 231-8125.
Northland Fishing Museum and Mall 12536 Gunder-
son Rd, Osseo • (715) 597-2551 • Visit the museum for the extensive fishing lure collection, and enjoy fishingrelated antique shopping.
O2Ex3 LLC: From Ordinary to Extraordinary Banbury
Place Bldg 13, 930 Galloway St., Eau Claire • 8944498, 642-2209 • Find us on Facebook.
Cheshire Farm Antiques E10415 County Road D Fall
Orvetta Mae Antiques 302 Water St., Eau Claire • (715)
Dell’s Architectural Antiques 121 Maple St., Eau Claire
Osseo General Store Nelson 210 W 8th, Osseo 54758 •
Creek • 715-877-2228.
• 715-834-8872 • www.dellsarchitecturalantiques.com • Specializing in antique collecting, salvage construction, and log homes.
Eclectica on Grand 106 W Grand Ave, Eau Claire • 715-834-7811 • firstname.lastname@example.org • eclecticaongrand.robustodev.com • Antique jewelry and collectibles. Egg Palace Antiques 4263 N. Prairie View Road Chip-
pewa Falls • 715-720-1071 • www.eggpalaceantiques. com • Antiques and collectibles.
Encore Consignment Clothing Store 2420 London Rd.,
Eau Claire • 715-833-2333 • email@example.com • Encore also consigns furniture.
Engelwood Antiques 2020 Townshop Rd Fall Creek 54742 • (715) 877-3468. Finish by Design 111 W Spring St, Chippewa Falls 54729 • 715-723-6400 • firstname.lastname@example.org • finishbydesign.com. Gently Kissed Treasures 11 E. Central St, Chippewa
Falls • (715) 738-1230 • sales@gentlykissedtreasures. com • www.gentlykissedtreasures.com • A furniture and home decor consignment shop.
Good and Sturdy Vintage 218 Water St., Eau Claire • (715) 839-7999 • goodandsturdy.com • Specializing in vintage clothing, art objects, home furnishings, and curiosities. Antique to 1980s. Goodwill3605 Gateway Dr., Eau Claire • (715) 8350532 // 2500 Hills Ct., Menomonie • (715) 235-8488 • goodwill.org. Hope Gospel Mission Bargain Center 2511 W. Moholt Dr., Eau Claire • (715) 839-9498 • hopegospelmission. org • This Eau Claire based business sells clothing, house wares, and above all, loads and loads of furniture. Jackson Mill Banbury Place Bldg 13, 930 Galloway St.,
Eau Claire • JacksonMill.ETSY.com.
Jean’s Antiques and Collectibles 1514 N Clairemont Ave Eau Claire • (715) 552-2770.
Jill’s Junque 222 N Main St. Rice Lake • 715-790-1786 • jillsjunque.wordpress.com • Antique and vintage. Junque to Treasures 12 miles southwest of Eau Claire along Highway 85, Rock Falls • 715-875-4456 • Junque to Treasures specializes in taking previously discarded items and refurbishing them to be sellable. The Loft 715-597-3194 • email@example.com • the-
loftbarn.com • The Loft offers an array of goods--from food and snacks for kids and adults to beer, liquor, and antiques.
Lori’s Junque W4570 Old Town Rd., Mondovi • (715)
926-5435 • Lori reuses old antiques, or refurbishes old furniture to look rustic and unique. She holds only two sales per summer.
514-2530 • orvettamaesantiques.wordpress.com.
715-597-2664 • Antiques and estate sales.
Picket Fence Antique Mall 501 N High St Chippewa
Falls 54729 • (715) 720-7877 • margespicketfence@ charter.net.
Piney Hills Antiques 5260 Deerfield Rd Eau Claire • (715) 832-8766.
Retro Distortion 312 E Madison Street Eau Claire • (715) 514-5224 • Retro nostalgic emporium.
River Trader Antiques 110 W Grand Ave Eau Claire
• 715-836-7397 • rivertradereauclaire.com • Antiques and collectibles at reasonable prices.
Salvation Army 2211 S. Hastings Way, Eau Claire •
834-1224 • usc.salvationarmy.org/eauclaire • A nonprofit, international organization that helps whenever and wherever possible.
Sandy’s Clothing & Art + Francie’s Finds & Consignment Banbury Place Bldg 13, 930 Galloway St., Eau Claire • 533-0159 (Sandy’s), 514-9222 (Francie’s).
Savers 2833 Mall Dr Eau Claire • (715) 835-8500 •
www.savers.com • Featuring an ever-changing selection of secondhand items.
The Shed 1519 Mayer Road, Altoona • 715-832-8585 • firstname.lastname@example.org • webpages.charter.net • Indoor flea market featuring antiques and homemade goods. Stone Street Collectibles 131 S Stone St., Augusta • Phone number (715) 286-5283.
Time and Again Antiques 606 Second Street PO Box
421 Chetek • 715-924-4000 • chetekantiques@yahoo. com • www.chetekantiques.com.
Town and Country Antiques 244 Main St E, Menomonie • (715) 231-3222 • email@example.com • An entertaining and ever changing multi-dealer shop with 25 dealers offering a wide variety of treasures and antiques in historic downtown Menomonie. Triangle Art and Antiques 335 Main St E, Menomonie • (715) 953-4242 • firstname.lastname@example.org • The Triangle Building (built in 1906) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features experienced dealers and beautiful art and antiques.. Vintage Junkies 930 Galloway St., Banbury Place, Building 13, Suite 203, Eau Claire • (715) 495-0740 • vintagejunkies-lovelyfurniture.blogspot.com • Turning ugly furniture into lovely furniture.
White Cow Antiques and Estate Sales 2284 County Rd T Eau Claire • (715) 874-5820 • White Cow Antiques offer a general line of antiques and collectibles.
The Wood Shed 105 W Lincoln St., Augusta • 715-2865404 • www.woodshedheirlooms.com/index.htm.
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